Eight valuable lessons I have learned since starting my own business

Dream of starting your own business and work around the school run? Find out how one mum successfully launched her own marketing consultancy – and the eight lessons she’s learned along the way. 

After nearly 20 years working in marketing for large corporate businesses, Jocasta Tribe decided to go it alone – and set up her own business, Marketing for Mums.

Today Jocasta enjoys working with small and medium-sized businesses, and in particular mums. And she balances her work with the school run, school plays and sports days. But it’s been a journey to get here! Find out the lessons she’s learned along the way.

Eight valuable lessons I have learned since starting my own business

If you said to me a year ago I would have launched my own business I wouldn’t have believed you. I was lost, stuck and couldn’t see a way for me to achieve the work-life-family balance I so wished for, and the thought of setting up my own business terrified me.

A visit to the Mums Enterprise Roadshow in Brighton provided me with inspiration and the kick that I needed to take a leap, and seven months and a social media course later I launched Marketing for Mums. I am now just over five months since launch and in a reflective mood.

I have been on a massive learning curve, which is only set to continue but I thought I would share some of the things that I have learnt along the way.

1) Set a deadline

Build a launch around an event or season, whatever is relevant for you. Not only does it keep you focused on achieving your goal but it can set a timeline to work to.

For me that was the Mums Enterprise Roadshow London event. Without that I could easily see myself, in the pursuit of perfection delaying that final leap and as a consequence I would have missed valuable opportunities.

2) Fight the need for perfection

Would I like an award winning website and an investor worthy business plan? Absolutely! However I have realised that can come in time and you can find a middle ground.

I have created a platform to enable me to talk to customers and with each conversation I am learning ‘on the job’ helping me to refine my thinking and ideas. This would not be possible if I had waited for utopia.

3) Build your tribe

Going from working in an office surrounded by people to bounce ideas off, to setting up shop at home on my own has sometimes felt isolating. I am slowly building my network of support and resources to help me.

Facebook groups of likeminded mums in business, the TLC Business Club, MPower Mastermind and the Mums Enterprise Roadshow can provide an endless source of knowledge and inspiration.

I am also starting to attend local networking groups, I have spent time with a business coach, and at least once a week I meet a friend in a café to work next to each other for company and to enjoy the treat of a decent coffee.

4) Prioritise

At the start of the year I set myself quarterly goals of things I want to achieve and this has really helped to focus my energy. On a daily basis I carry around two notebooks ‘Ideas and Cunning Plans’ which I use to document any ideas I might have and a ‘To Do List’ book.

I have pages and pages of ideas but only a limited amount of time in the day. Therefore I have prioritised the ideas based upon what I believe will deliver the greatest benefit, budget and any tasks that are tied to a set timeline. The short term priorities are then placed on my ‘To Do’ list to move forward. That way growing the business doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

5) Seek collaborations

I started Marketing for Mums with no savings or investment. So in the absence of cash I sought mutually beneficial collaborations for example I offered my time and experience in exchange for areas of support I needed for my business.

As my accountant and bank balance reminds me, this can’t go on forever because you need to bring in an income but in the early days, whilst setting up it can be really helpful.

6) Practise self care

Okay, if I am honest, I haven’t done so well on this one. I have worked long hours resulting in exhaustion and exercise has gone out of the window! So recently I have started running with a friend and attending a Yoga class with another set of friends.

I do this during the day when my girls are at school and then continue work in the evenings, which I don’t resent as I have already had some ‘me’ time. Now I just need to make sure I don’t work too late and keep it up!

7) Reflect and celebrate success

Having your own business is a constant learning process and when you are heads down delivering for clients, doing your own business development, admin etc, it is easy to plough on without taking a step back to review what’s working or not.

This can be incredibly powerful but celebrating your successes (Prosecco o’clock?) can give you the extra boost you might need on a tricky day.

8) Keep the faith

Like life in general I have experienced highs and lows. At the start of my journey I wrote in a journal why I chose to leave my stable, corporate job, why I have chosen to set up my own business and what value I want to add to my family, clients and me. When I have a tough day I dig out that journal and read it. This has always helped to positively shift my mindset.

Yes I have hard days but overall taking the leap is the best thing I could have done. I love who I work with, what I do, the value I am adding and I can work the hours around my children. Which reminds me… got to dash, I am off to do the school run!

Jocasta Tribe is the founder of Marketing for Mums.

Photo by Eye for Ebony